SALT LAKE CITY — Hang in there, Utahns. The nasty inversion is leveling off and relief — in the form of a winter storm and cleaner air — is on the way.
Air quality in northern Utah is expected to remain unhealthy for sensitive groups through Monday, according to the KSL Air Quality Network. However, moderate air quality is expected by Tuesday, when a midweek storm will bring snow and cleaner air.
"It won't be a big snow producer at all. It does look it will break the inversion and we should see some cleaner air by Tuesday afternoon, Tuesday evening. Whatever's left as far as pollution on Tuesday evening will be cleared out by a stronger storm on Wednesday," said KSL-TV meteorologist Brett Benson.
The storm could potentially complicate Wednesday morning's commute, "but it's a fast mover so it won't be a big producer in the valleys," but possibly 6 to 8 inches in the mountains, Benson said.
Air quality on Sunday in northern Utah was unhealthy for sensitive groups, which is expected to continue through Monday.
"What that means is, people who tend to be sensitive are younger, older or anyone with compromised respiratory systems. They tend to feel it more severely than those who are relatively healthy," said Donna Kemp Spangler, communication director for the Utah Department of Environmental Quality.
To keep apprised of current conditions, Spangler recommends checking the department's website, which has a three-day forecast.
Utah remains under "no burn" conditions, meaning the use of wood-burning stoves or fireplaces is prohibited under current conditions, she said.
Carpooling, taking public transportation and telecommuting also help to reduce vehicle emissions by taking cars off the road, Spangler said.
If you must drive, try to avoid rush-hour traffic because stop-and-go driving emits much more pollution than an unfettered drive, she said.
"If you were to drive at 65 mph, there's not a lot coming out of your tailpipe," Spangler said.
According to UCAIR, Utah Clean Air partnership, small changes in behavior can help improve air quality.
Its website encourages Utahns to drive less by carpooling, taking public transportation and telecommuting, driving smarter and planning travel to reduce trips.
UCAIR encourages Utahns to drive their newest, greenest car or purchase a fuel-efficient or alternative fuel technology vehicle.Comment on this story
If the purchase of a new car isn't in your future plans, take care of the one you have, UCAIR advises.
"A well-maintained vehicle with 50,000 miles on it pollutes only 40 percent as much as the same vehicle that is poorly maintained," the website states.
Reducing idling helps with cutting vehicle emissions, too.
"Ten seconds of idling can use more fuel than turning off your engine and restarting it," according to UCAIR.
Here's three other tips:
• Accelerate gradually
• Obey the speed limit
• Use cruise control on the highway